Best Online Payroll Services

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We’ve worked with dozens of teams and have been involved in paying hundreds (if not thousands) of people—including freelancers, salaried employees, and hourly employees—over the years. After testing many of the top options on the market and considering our own experiences, Rippling is our top pick because it supports all types of employees and contractors, is simple to use, and you get the most bang for your buck.

The Best Online Payroll Service for Most

Rippling logo


Best for Most

Rippling has over 500 integrations and automations to make payroll and HR management simple. You can run payroll in 90 seconds, backed by a 100% error-free guarantee.

Rippling is our top pick due to its automation features, one-click payroll capabilities, international payroll support, and additional employee management tools. In addition to payroll, Rippling also supports recruiting workflows, onboarding and offboarding employees, benefits administration, software access approvals, insurance, and more. It is an HR and IT platform to fit all your employee’s needs. 

The platform automatically calculates and files payroll taxes with the appropriate state, federal, and local agencies. Rippling has a simple and user-friendly mobile app as well—giving employees access to paystubs and W-2s on the go. They can even use the Rippling app to request time off.

The 13 Best Online Payroll Services Options to Consider

  1. Rippling – Best online payroll service for most
  2. BambooHR – Best for an employee-first solution
  3. Deel – Best for automating multiple payroll tasks
  4. Remofirst – Best for receiving payroll analytics
  5. TriNet – Best for payroll services for SMBs
  6. Paycor – Best for payroll compliance
  7. Gusto – Best user interface for payroll
  8. QuickBooks – Best for knocking out payroll & accounting in one step
  9. ADP – Best for avoiding payroll growing pains
  10. Deluxe Payroll – Best way to attract more talent
  11. SurePayroll – Best worry-free guarantee for small business taxes
  12. Payroll4Free.com – Best feature-rich free-forever online payroll service
  13. Remote.com – Best for global hiring and payroll

When It Makes Sense to Invest Into Online Payroll Services

Whether you have one employee or 100+, payroll compliance is extremely important. Not only does it ensure that your employees get paid on time and in full, but it also helps protect against costly mistakes and compliance issues.

However, using a payroll service means outsourcing payroll functions to a third party. In most cases, you can decide which tasks you want to outsource, but you do lose a bit of control by inviting an outside provider into your business.

You don’t have to use an online service, but you are in charge of maintaining compliance with all local, state, and federal tax agencies whether you do it yourself or hire someone else.

It makes sense to invest in an online payroll service if you want:

  • To avoid running payroll yourself
  • To gain peace of mind knowing it’s done right
  • Someone on your side who can help you maintain compliance
  • A service that provides your employees with important information and answers to their questions

And while it may seem like outsourcing is solely reserved for larger teams, that’s far from the truth. There are dozens of low-cost options, several of which made it onto our list. So, outsourcing payroll services is a lot more cost-effective than you think.

#1 – Rippling — The Best Online Payroll Service for Most

Rippling logo


Best for Most

Rippling has over 500 integrations and automations to make payroll and HR management simple. You can run payroll in 90 seconds, backed by a 100% error-free guarantee.

Rippling is an excellent online payroll service for any size business. Because it is so much more than just payroll. While you can use it primarily for payroll if you want, most companies will find all of the HR management tools and features to be just as useful and help streamline all payroll and employee management. 

Even small businesses will benefit from the other HR features. For example, instead of having to remember log ins and passwords for a bunch of different tools, the payroll coordinator and employees only need to know their Rippling login credentials to see everything in one place–W2s, 1099s, insurance and benefits information, 401(k), paystubs, timesheets, any training stuff, and more. 

Rippling run payroll screen.

Importantly, unlike some SMB-aimed payroll services, Rippling can grow with you and continue to support your needs as you scale.

When it comes to migrating from your old payroll system to Rippling, it automatically imports and sorts all of the data from a bunch of tools, including Sage, QuickBooks Online, Xero, ADP, Gusto, and others. And, of course, you can integrate it with a 20+ other payroll and benefits tools. Rippling has apps for Vanguard, Fidelity, Betterment, and more. 

No matter where in the world your full-time, hourly, or contract employees are, you can get them paid in minutes. Rippling also allows you to quickly and easily change international contractors to internal staff. Many payroll tools, especially those supporting smaller and mid-size businesses, do not include global payroll options. 

That plus one-click payroll runs, tons of workflow automations, and responsive customer support is why this tool ranks so high.

Rippling has live chat support on the site which can also convert to a video call if needed, plus an extensive help center

Rippling support status page

Another cool feature from Rippling is the real-time support status page. The company says they are the first in the industry to publish these metrics. You can see this page even when you are not logged into the tool, and it shows you graphs and analytics for live chat response time, live chat customer converting, email response time, and percentage of cases resolved by first response. This is great for anyone needing customer service or help. 

As for pricing, Rippling creates custom price quotes based on the features you want for your business, and you can always add features later. Get your free quote today.

#2 – BambooHR — The Best for an Employee-First Solution

BambooHR logo


Best for an Employee-First Solution

BambooHR has all of the necessary features to put your employees in the payroll driver's seat. From tracking their hours to managing their own enrollment, employees are able to take control with BambooHR—making it easy for you and your team.

BambooHR is the ideal payroll solution for small businesses that are looking for a user-friendly HR software that gives employees more responsibility. BambooHR makes payroll easy right from enrollment to managing the day-to-day operations by giving your employees control to view and manage a variety of payroll aspects. It’s less stress for you and your team.

BambooHR is a people-first software that puts your employees in the driver’s seat. No more bombarding HR with hundreds of trivial requests regarding payment. Instead, employees can self serve by finding paystubs, editing withholdings, and setting up direct deposit.

BambooHR.com homepage

What makes BambooHR a perfect fit for small businesses looking to enable their employees is the ability to customize payroll aspects to meet your needs. Here are just a few things you can customize:

  • Time tracking
  • Data and reporting
  • PTO policies
  • Access levels and permissions
  • Employee database

Another standout feature of BambooHR is that it streamlines the onboarding and enrollment process for small businesses. With BambooHR employees are responsible for reviewing all of the necessary documents, giving electronic signatures, and making the necessary selections.

BambooHR also lets you create an enrollment window so you no longer have to chase down employee elections. You set the enrollment window and employees do the rest. You can also view the enrollment status of each employee right in the dashboard. Even more, you can sync your enrollment data directly to your carrier from within BambooHR, syncing across multiple systems. BambooHR lets you integrate Payroll with Benefits Administration to make deductions a one-time thing.

Being focused on people first, BambooHR lets your employees take care of their own time tracking so payroll is always accurate. Employees punch in and out right from the home screen and they can even do it from the mobile app. Additionally, employees can edit their hours to make sure payroll is on target.

To top it all off, BambooHR takes care of all your taxes for your US-based employees.

BambooHR offers just two plans to choose from: Essentials and Advantage.

But regardless of the plan you go with, you will also have the option for some sweet add-ons:

  • Payroll
  • Benefits Administration
  • Performance Management
  • Time Tracking

For small business that want to reduce the workload of HR by involving employees in payroll, BambooHR is what you are looking for. Give it a try for free today.

#3 – Deel – The Best for Automating Multiple Payroll Tasks

Deel logo


Best for Automating Multiple Payroll Tasks

Deel simplifies managing your domestic or international payroll by automating many tasks that can be challenging to complete. The software calculates overtime and tax withholding for you, while also managing and tracking your employees’ benefits, such as PTO and bonuses earned.

The Deel software works to automate many aspects of running your payroll, saving your team time and potentially reducing the number of errors that occur. This automation also helps you with maintaining compliance. Some of the automated features you can make use of include:

  • Track all pertinent payroll data
  • Quickly update payroll data for employees as needed
  • Track time worked
  • Calculate overtime
  • Track benefits, including PTO and bonuses
  • Calculate and file required taxes
  • Update important documents automatically

For companies with less than 200 employees, Deel has a free tier available. You can perform all the basic features required for managing an international or domestic payroll through the free tier.

Deel homepage.

As your company grows and requires more complex features, seamlessly transition to a higher pricing tier. Additionally, it’s easy to use Deel for managing payments to freelance workers or to contractors, regardless of their location.

The interface that’s available with the Deel software is well-organized, giving you quick access to the features that you use most often. Should you need to dive deeper into some features on occasion, Deel makes these commands available through submenus. This helps with maintaining an uncluttered interface.

When you are trying to manage your company’s payroll across multiple countries, you need to pay particular attention to compliance. You don’t want to make an error in this area, potentially putting you in violation of local regulations.

Deel’s automated features excel in helping you manage a global workforce. You can use any of several dozen different currencies to manage your payroll. The software manages income tax calculation within those local currencies and countries automatically for you as well.

This is not always an easy process, which is why we appreciate that Deel offers a support team to supplement your work with managing payroll whenever you run into issues.

EOR services from Deel start at $599 per month, and contractor payments start at $49 per month.

You can even rely on Deel for add-on services, like background checks, helping employees secure visas, sending equipment to your global staff, and more.

If you would like to learn more about how Deel can help with managing your payroll, whether you operate with employees in a single country or in multiple countries, request a free demo from Deel today.

#4 – Remofirst – The Best for Receiving Payroll Analytics

Remofirst logo


Best for Receiving Payroll Analytics

Simply sending out your payroll every month isn’t enough when you are trying to stay on top of payroll expenses. With Remofirst, you receive access to dashboards that show where your payroll is going and any expenses you have related to it. You also can make estimates on what it will cost you to hire a particular employee, based on international location.

You know the importance of sending out your company payroll on time, ensuring employees remain happy and motivated, while you continue to adhere to local employment regulations. With Remofirst managing your payroll, though, it does far more than that. You also can see analytics about where your payroll money is going, helping you manage your budget more efficiently.

The Remofirst dashboard gives you easy-to-understand graphs that provide important insights into where your payroll is going.

Remofirst dashboard.

You can see the amount you’re spending on payroll in each country, along with information on the number of employees, freelancers, or contractors you have in each location. Through these analytics, you can be confident you are spending your payroll in the locations that deliver the most returns for you.

You may find through analytics that the payroll taxes you are paying in one country are higher than in another location, which is causing a budget strain. You may even find through analytics that you need to shift your employee concentration into countries with lower tax requirements.

Remofirst also provides the ability to calculate the costs you’ll have with hiring an employee in a certain country at a certain salary. By having this information in hand before making a hiring decision, you may determine it’s more cost effective to hire someone in a different country.

Of course, Remofirst does an excellent job of simplifying and automating the generation of your payroll, either domestically or internationally. You generate one invoice in your local currency, and Remofirst pays all of your workers off that invoice in their local currencies. 

It also automates the process of helping you remain in compliance with local income tax regulations and employment laws. Remofirst constantly monitors any changes in the local regulations that could affect the way you hire and pay workers in certain countries, alerting you to any potential situations that could lead to fines.

Another unique standout of Remofirst is its affordable EOR services. This starts at just $199 per person per month, which is about one-third of the price compared to other options on our list.

You can also use Remofirst to pay contractors, starting at $25 per month. Health benefit packages start at $55 per person.

Remofirst greatly simplifies onboarding and offboarding of employees around the world, too.

Contact Remofirst for a free demo today.

#5 – TriNet – The Best Payroll Services for SMBs

TriNet logo


Best for Payroll Services for SMBs

TriNet ensures your payroll runs on time, while remaining in compliance with all state and federal regulations. You have access to a mixture of automated payroll services from TriNet and self-service tools through the software. Working with TriNet lets you focus on your SMB, rather than on calculating payroll.

Small and medium businesses need to maximize the capabilities of each employee, including those in HR departments. When you subscribe to TriNet for your payroll services, you can free up your HR personnel to focus on other aspects of helping your company.

TriNet ensures that you never have to worry about remaining in compliance with state and federal regulations related to payroll. 

It calculates taxes for you and avoids errors that could leave you exposed to potential fines. 

It stays up to date with tax rates, ensuring everything is accurate. Even if you operate in an area with state and local income taxes, TriNet can handle all these calculations using the proper rates. 

TriNet payroll services landing page.

Most importantly, TriNet guarantees that your payroll will run on time and accurately. Your employees expect to receive their salary on time, and TriNet makes sure this happens.

As an SMB, you may struggle to pay individual employees in the way they prefer, whether that’s by check, by direct deposit, or another way. TriNet gives you access to multiple means of sending payment. It also calculates tax withholding automatically and generates W-2 forms for you.

Employees can keep an eye on their benefits and salary through TriNet’s self-service portal. It lets them update their own tax statuses for withholding purposes, reducing the amount of time your HR personnel have to spend on these types of tasks.

Having an accurate payroll when your employees work on an hourly basis is an easier process with TriNet. It can automatically track time cards digitally for you, meaning your HR department doesn’t have to try to manually add up hours. 

Should you use an accounting software package like QuickBooks or Xero, you can use it to transfer data back and forth with TriNet to maintain accuracy. TriNet can use this data to create reports that show where your payroll is going, helping you make smarter decisions about how you’re spending your money on salaries.

Request a free meeting with TriNet to learn more about how your SMB can take advantage of its payroll services.

#6 – Paycor — The Best For Payroll Compliance

Paycor Logo


Best For Payroll Compliance

Paycor helps businesses stay compliant while hiring, paying, and classifying different types of employees. It’s also an HCM solution that gives you detailed insights and analytics into your workforce so you can make data-driven decisions. 

Paycor is an all-in-one solution for payroll and HCM—human capital management. 

This powerful combination helps organizations of all sizes and industries do much more than simply pay employees. They can help you pay different types of employees in different locations, all while ensuring your business stays compliant. 

Paycor can assist you with regulatory compliance, tax credits, workforce benefits administration, data security, and more. They can even ensure you have compliant recruiting and hiring processes—all while maintaining accurate and seamless payroll.

Paycor homepage highlighting HR and payroll software with an example of the software on a computer and two people looking at a screen.

If you’re running a business in an industry with lots of unique employee classifications, Paycor needs to be on your radar. 

For example, restaurants have lots of full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers. Healthcare organizations may have some staff getting paid hourly and others on a salary. They can even help nonprofits better control payroll costs and avoid fines associated with non-compliance.

As an integrated payroll and HCM solution, Paycor provides deep insights into your workforce at a bird’s-eye level. This makes it easier for you to make data-driven decisions related to your payroll numbers, like whether it makes sense to continue hiring or where costs need to be cut in certain departments or locations. 

Paycor helps you do this confidently, all while maintaining your compliance. 

One unique standout of Paycor compared to other payroll services on the market is its flexibility. It’s one of the only solutions that truly supports businesses of all sizes. 

So whether you’re a startup with just eight employees or a scaling organization with 50 or 500 employees, Paycor has payroll and compliance solutions to fit your needs. 

Connect with a Paycor specialist today to see why over 40,000 businesses rely on this payroll provider.

For a limited time, small businesses with less than 50 employees can get 50% off the first six months of Paycor and setup fees waived on all plans. If you have more than 50 employees, there’s a deal for you too—you can get your first month free.

#7 – Gusto — The Best User Interface for Payroll

Gusto Logo


Best User Interface for Payroll

Get everything you need to manage payroll like a pro with automated pay runs, seamless onboarding, electronic tax payments, and more. Avoid costly manual errors and start automating your processes today. Paid plans start at $40 + $6/employee per month.

Gusto is an excellent online payroll solution that’s convenient for employees and intuitive for managers. It’s one of our top recommendations–for good reason. It’s what we use to pay our team, offer amazing benefits options, and manage PTO in one place.

We can personally vouch for its ease of use for non-HR professionals and time-saving payroll features.

With it, you get everything you need to start automating your payroll runs, offer exceptional employee benefits, onboard new employees, and simplify tax time for yourself and your team.

From tax payments to year-end filings, Gusto lets you manage everyone’s tax documents electronically. This saves you time and money, while also eliminating the possibility of something important getting lost in the mail and holding up tax season for your employees.

Or worse. A costly human error because of manual document preparation.

Once you enter your team’s information into the system, Gusto can run payroll automatically, meaning you can stop manually paying your team and manually tracking the associated taxes, too since it handles tax calculations on autopilot.

Every time you hire a new employee, you can easily add them to your new payroll system. The complete onboarding process lets new hires onboard themselves without you having to lift a finger.

All of our team’s gone through the onboarding process. It’s easy and straightforward, plus the cartoon pig is a nice touch that makes the process enjoyable.

Overall, Gusto is a modern solution to processing payroll online and it’s perfect for solopreneurs and microbusinesses looking for a better way to run payroll and manage tax payments.

Gusto offers four plans to choose from, including:

  • Contractor – $0 per month + $6 per contractor per month
  • Simple – $40 per month + $6 per employee per month
  • Plus – $80 per month + $12 per employee per month
  • Premium – Contact sales

The pricing could not be more straightforward. The Simple plan automates payroll processing in a single state and comes with all the basics, including tax calculations, 2-day direct deposits, and employee self-service portals.

It’s the perfect addition to your tool stack, especially if you don’t have an in-house HR team.

Plus plans include multi-state payroll capabilities, built-in time tracking software, PTO management, and other helpful tools for growing companies.

Running payroll has never been easier than it is with Gusto’s modern and enjoyable UI. Sign up today to see it in action for yourself and decide if it’s right for your team today!

#8 – QuickBooks — The Best for Knocking Out Payroll & Accounting in One Step

QuickBooks Logo


Best for Payroll & Accounting

Includes speedy direct deposits, electronic filings, and seamless integration with QuickBooks accounting software. Get everything you need in a full-service online payroll solution.

Paid plans start at $22.50 per month.

Payroll and accounting are related but totally separate processes that typically require manual data entry or integration between the two tools. However, QuickBooks QuickBooks Payroll cuts out the middle processes and creates a direct flow of information from payroll to accounting.

Doing so makes everyone’s lives easier. Not only are there fewer mistakes and less time spent consolidating accounts, but you also get enhanced business organization and real-time syncing across the two modules.

QuickBooks Payroll is a no-brainer if you already use QuickBooks for accounting or plan to start using it soon.

Getting started is easy, and you get a wide range of step-by-step tutorials to streamline the setup process. There’s also a guided setup process that walks you through it all. It’s so easy it takes just a few minutes to get everything up and running.

Even if you’re not an accountant or payroll specialist, you get all the help, documentation, and support you need.

Quickbooks helps automate and digitize your tax payments, too. From monthly tax payments and automatic calculations for paycheck tax withholdings to year-end filings and preparation, it’s all taken care of. All of your federal and state taxes are also calculated, filed, and paid for you so you don’t have to worry about tax compliance (or tax season) again.

It works in all 50 states, so it’s an excellent choice regardless of where your team works—even if they all work in different states, QuickBooks handles the complexities for you.

You even get tax penalty protection to cover you if something goes awry.

Plus, you can do all of this and more without printing out a single sheet of paper (hello environment).

You also get industry-leading direct deposit speeds with funds showing up in your team’s accounts no later than the next business day. Everyone loves quicker access to their money.

On top of that, you can also get other features and benefits, including:

  • Personalized HR support
  • Tax penalty protection
  • Time tracking tools
  • Benefits management
  • Advanced analytics and reporting

Plus, you get to pick and choose the features you need without having to pay for things you’re never going to use. This helps keep costs low while still delivering the functionality you need for your business.

With that said, QuickBooks Online Payroll was built to integrate directly with its own accounting software. So, if you use something else, you may find it a bit of a challenge to connect the two. It’s not impossible, it just won’t be as easy as connecting with QuickBooks’ own accounting software.

Quickbooks pricing page from its website with three options.

When it comes to pricing, QuickBooks has something for everyone. Paid plans start at $22.50 + $6 per employee per month, which includes full-service payroll, so you get everything you need.

This is a promotional rate, which reflects 50% off the standard price for your first three months.

Alternatively, you can enjoy a 30-day free trial to see if it’s a good fit for your team. But if you sign up for the free trial, you won’t get the discount on your first three months.

If you already use Quickbooks for accounting, you can easily add payroll services right inside your account in just a few clicks.

#9 – ADP — The Best for Avoiding Payroll Growing Pains

ADP Logo


Best for Avoiding Growing Pains

Built to scale with fast-growth startups and small businesses. Flexible pricing and custom functionality to suit businesses of all sizes. Includes 24/7/365 customer support and seamless integration with ADP's other business tools.

ADP is a major player in HR software. Through powerful automations, the team is able to customize your experience every step of the way, starting the moment you land on the website.

After the system gathers a bit of info, you’ll get specialized recommendations based on the information you gave.

Whether you’re a small business just starting to hire your first employees or a midmarket company with hundreds already on your payroll, ADP does an excellent job of guiding you through its maze of product offerings.

While a surge in customer growth may not seem like a problem, you probably need more hands on deck to keep up. As such, you may need to adjust to how you handle timesheets, benefits, and payroll to work for your constantly evolving team.

ADP solves this commonly overlooked pain point with automation and proven processes. Plus, you never have to worry about outgrowing the software, regardless of where you start your ADP journey. Rather than scrambling to find something that works as you grow, it flexes and scales right alongside you, no matter how big you get.

One example of this in action is adding new employees—configuring tax settings, finalizing their paperwork, getting signatures, and adding them to your payroll takes just a few minutes.

Payroll can be where you start, but services like recruiting and benefits management are also available as you keep scaling. And you can easily get in touch with a payroll or HR expert 24/7, meaning you don’t have to navigate anything on your own or wait several days for help.

You can also leverage ADP’s App Store to further customize HR packages and integration options as your business grows and your online payroll needs change. Because each plan is completely customized to match your business, pricing isn’t available online. And you have to call ADP to get a quote. This means it may take longer to start implementing your online payroll software since you can’t start using it right away.

For scaling companies interested in doing business with a well-known provider that offers a variety of solutions, ADP is a good choice. 

Get started with ADP today.

#10 – Deluxe Payroll — The Best Way to Attract More Talent

Deluxe Logo

Deluxe Payroll

Best Way to Attract Talent

Deluxe offers all of the payroll and HR essentials you need, plus powerful hiring and onboarding tools. You'll also benefit from automated tax filings, PTO management, and 24/7 support.

Plenty of payroll services offer a healthy dose of HR features as well, but none help you with making a hiring push quite like the payroll offering from Deluxe.

While ADP is our top recommendation for scaling with you as your business grows, Deluxe Payroll is perfect for companies that are struggling to attract, screen, and onboard new hires.

Like all the providers listed here, you get everything you need for running payroll smoothly, including assistance with filing taxes in all 50 states, time tracking tools, an employee self-service portal, and PTO management. Despite its superior talent acquisition features, it doesn’t skimp out of essential payroll functionality.

Screenshot of Deluxe's Payroll and HR landing page with picture of a woman smiling

Where Deluxe really shines is its potent suite of digital hiring and onboarding tools.

The suite helps you push job listings to the most prominent online job boards and social media sites in a few clicks, rather than a few hundred.

Plus, it can automate many routine aspects of hiring, like sifting out unqualified candidates through pre-screening questions, scheduling interviews with qualified applicants, and sending offer letters to those who’ve made the cut.

Plans include:

  • Full-service payroll in all 50 states
  • Tax filings
  • Digital hiring and onboarding
  • Direct deposit, pay cards, and paper checks
  • Accounting integrations
  • Employee self-service tools
  • 24/7 expert support

Deluxe also has additional services for benefits administration, time and attendance, and digital recruiting. These can be added to your plan at any time for an additional fee.

If you want a payroll software that also actively helps your company grow, connect with the folks at Deluxe today.

#11 – SurePayroll — The Best Worry-Free Guarantee for Small Business Taxes

SurePayroll Logo


Best for Worry-Free Tax Compliance

Serving small businesses for 20+ years. SurePayroll is simple, cost-effective, and straightforward for busy household employers. Run payroll anytime and file your taxes electronically with full-service vs. self-service options.

SurePayroll allows you to get set up in minutes and start running your very own payroll with ease. This is extremely powerful for small business owners, and also gives you an upper hand with being a mobile service as well. But what makes SurePayroll especially unique is their risk free guarantee on paying business taxes. 

There are two levels of payroll services you can use. The first is self service and the other is full service, no matter what you select you are backed by the most incredible guarantees. You are promised a no penalty tax guarantee as well as a tax calculation guarantee. 

The full service service payroll guarantee allows you to focus on payroll and keep the complexities of taxes out of site. SurePayroll will handle the trickery that is tax preparation. The full service plan offers full tax preparation—calculation, filing, payments and any penalties associated with your business are covered.

SurePayroll homepage

With the self service payroll plan your taxes are calculated to perfection or any penalties you incur from the IRS are paid in full by SurePayroll, they will even be a direct point of contact with the IRS agency—making sure to leave your business out of it. 

For more than 20 years, SurePayroll has been serving small businesses in every industry imaginable. SurePayroll designed its service to be simple, cost-effective, and straightforward to suit this specific situation. 

Top features include:

  • Run payroll anytime, from anywhere: With SurePayroll, you can run payroll from a computer, smartphone, or tablet. As long as you have internet access, you can get the job done.
  • Full-service and self-service options: With full-service, SurePayroll takes over the entire process on your behalf. With self-service, you’re responsible for inputting the data necessary to run payroll. 
  • Tax filing guarantee: We discussed this above. 

SurePayroll customer service and support are not trapped in the past either, with phone, chat, and email options for contacting an experienced payroll professional anytime you need help along the way.

In regards to price, SurePayroll requires you to complete the quote form on its website for more information.

Cost depends on the number of employees and whether you choose full-service or self-service.

Remember SurePayroll is designed for small businesses. Even though mid to large-sized businesses can use the service, it’s features are geared more toward those with 100 employees or less. Keep this in mind when you are looking.

If tax preparation is important to you and you run a small business, definitely give SurePayroll a strong look.

#12 – Payroll4Free.com — The Best Feature-Rich Free Forever Software

Payroll4Free Logo


Best Free Forever Payroll Software

Always free for up to 25 employees. Numerous free add-ons like a payroll calculator, employee portal, and detailed reporting. Direct deposit or standard check payment options. Customer support via phone and email.

This is one of the best ways to use a payroll service if you are on a very tight budget and need accurate tax preparation, direct deposit options for your team or even the ability to print checks. 

Payroll4Free solves the problems you have regarding payroll and works well enough to where you have no problems continuing to use it.

Along with the features mentioned above you can also track vacation time. As you continue along in this article, you will recognize Payroll4Free is incredibly feature rich for being a freemium service.

A basic level payroll provider like this would usually charge a minimum of $30-40 a month and usually a per employee cost too. And you are using it for free. 

Plus you get stellar customer service that gives you the full service treatment; talk to a live person that knows everything about the software to solve your problem quickly. 

The small business start and mindset shines through in customer support as they always make you a top priority. As a smaller online payroll service, Payroll4Free.com is able to provide above-average customer support via email and phone. 

You also have integration with quickbooks and can import your current data or even export your data to banks, and other software providers you use if you need to. 

Payroll4Free is always free for up to 25 employees. They are able to do so by placing ads inside the software you use to run payroll. 

Yes, it can be distracting, so keep this in mind. But, it’s a good tradeoff if you’re looking to save. 

Top features of Payroll4Free.com include:

  • Free for up to 25 employees: As long as you have 25 employees or fewer, Payroll4Free.com is always free.
  • Variety of free add-ons: You can do more than run payroll with Payroll4Free.com. Add-ons include a payroll calculator, employee portal, and detailed reporting. 
  • Direct deposit or paper check: Let your employees choose, so you can pay them the way they want.

We also love the available employee dashboard. You can also review detailed reporting regarding your payroll to help you make data driven decisions. Although it lags behind the competition in some key areas, Payroll4Free.com is 100% free. And for many, that’ll always be enough.

If you’re on a budget, go with Payroll4Free.com

#13 – Remote.com — The Best for Global Hiring and Payroll

Remote.com logo


The Best for Global Hiring and Payroll

Remote.com supports international hiring at scale with Employer of Record services, global payroll consulting, and contractor payments. They’ll help you avoid risks, remain compliant, and ensure you’re offering quality benefits to new and existing employees worldwide.

Remote.com is an all-in-one payroll and HR solution that can handle all the basics of both. But, beyond that, this provider delivers advanced services for hiring, onboarding, and scaling internationally. 

For businesses that want to hire beyond borders in order to secure top-level talent, Remote.com has the knowledge and expertise to guide you through this process. 

Remote.com home page.

In addition to running timely and accurate pay runs, Remote.com offers something unique compared to other payroll providers on our list. They offer HR consulting services for international expansion. 

You’ll work directly with Remote.com’s consultants to identify risks and determine the best path for your business goals. They’ll help you navigate the complex waters of labor laws and taxation across different countries and regions. 

With Remote.com, you can offer stock options and equity incentives to international employees—making your organization more appealing to the world’s best talent.

They even help you manage short-term and long-term relocation initiatives for new employees coming from anywhere in the world. You won’t have to handle visas, permits, or immigration barriers on your own. 

Rather than setting up a local presence in a new country every time you want to hire and pay talent from there, you can take advantage of Remote.com’s Employer of Record (EOR) services.

Remote EOR Landing page showing a globe with employees in different locations

This is the simplest and most affordable way to hire globally and run international payroll while remaining compliant. 

Beyond these advanced solutions, Remote.com still offers everything you’d expect from a quality payroll service, including:

  • Local tax reporting
  • Payroll compliance
  • Time off management
  • Global benefits administration
  • Local and global contractor payments
  • Expense management

Employer of Record services start at $599 per month, and Global Payroll services start at $50 per employee per month. Contractor management services start at $29 per contractor per month, which you can try for free with a 30-day trial.

Remote.com also has a completely free HRIS platform included with every plan. This makes it much easier to manage all of your employees in one place, no matter how they’re classified or where they’re located.

To utilize this global payroll solution and its enhanced ability to onboard international talent, request a quote from Remote.com to get started.

Methodology For Choosing The Best Online Payroll Service

There is no right or wrong way to evaluate online payroll services, but some details deserve more attention than others. We focused on a variety of factors to ensure a comprehensive breakdown of each, with a focus on:

One-and-Done Data Entry

Imagine only having to do confirmation for your payroll services once, and it was set for future entries—no redundant tasks for you, and it would keep you from wasting time pecking away at your keyboard. 

This is what you want to look for when selecting a payroll provider.

You want automation, integration and a provider that focuses on removing error prone situations by eliminating manual data entry over and over. 

When you have to add the same data into your software in three different locations to confirm its addition to the system, you should be concerned.  This should not give you a sense of satisfaction that your provider is thorough, instead, this means they are behind the times and need better software checks and balances. 

As a small business owner you don’t want to have to add your employees weekly payroll manually each and every time—importing and exporting data. 

For a moment consider what this will do to your managers that have a team of 15, or even 20. 

When you have software that’s inefficient, it leads to burnout from your managers, it can cause people to cut corners, and that leads to inaccurate payroll figures and other errors you want to avoid. 

Remember this methodology when selecting your provider. When you improve this one area of payroll services you can save you hundreds of working hours each year, because being late to your kids soccer game because of payroll is not cool. 

Technology Promises That Don’t Miss the Mark

Whenever you are promised something and don’t get it, you feel shorted in a way. Even if it’s slightly. When you are paying for a service and you don’t get what was promised the feeling is intensified. 

Too many providers promise 21st century technology but in actuality are still stuck in the 20th century. And because most users have newer computers and browsers it makes it harder for users to use their software. For example, some users can’t navigate software because their browser is not compatible with the payroll service software. 

Adding to this problem, other providers will have semi-functioning technology or a complex user interface because it’s old, lack customization and don’t work with different technologies you may be currently using. Some platforms can be glitchy, signing employees in and out without them knowing causing even more complications. 

When you decide to use online payroll services you want state of the art technology and integration that actually works. You want to be able to integrate your POS systems, along with other accounting software; that makes importing and exporting data push-button. The providers on this list have excellent integration applications to give you all that you need to give your business a new seamless workflow. 

Things like tracking time, updated schedules and managing services through your CRM should also be available to you. Having mobile applications that work seamlessly, giving employees and administrators clear communication through the platform from anywhere need to be tested by you or your team early on. 

When you select the provider best for your business, test all the services you feel your business will use the most. Make sure applications are fully functional and can be proven that they work,  read reviews about those features, and clearly understand your trial period and what occurs when canceling if you’re not satisfied. 

Customer Support Should Help, Right?

Problems will arise, and when they do you want to feel confident you are getting the written answers. 

If you have an issue and have to talk to several people to get anything resolved your blood may begin to boil.You don’t want a company that has to bounce you around to different reps because each segment of the company is split into a jigsaw puzzle. 

And this is frustrating when you begin to deal with reps that know less about the system than you do. Imagine having a conversation where you have to walk the rep through how to do something—not a very comforting feeling when you are paying for a service that you are depending on for important financial and HR management. 

And this is a terrible recurring nightmare when everytime you call you get a new person and have to re-explain yourself. 

Look for a customer support team that has follow up notes, and possibly a way to search your conversation or the current problem that you’re working on. Top tier support is what keeps you happy when using software. There are always problems, but how quickly they get resolved is what matters most. 

Talk to customer service, ask questions about the services they offer, even if you are not a customer. This is a great way to see how they handle themselves and if they only care that you are a customer. When you have complex areas like recruitment, payroll and other HR related services you need a support team that is patient and likes to help. Taking the time to call them and see how they handle common problems, gives you a preview into how you will be treated.

Plus some providers give you a designated support administrator that provides you with a concierge type focus, making sure you have help at all times, and one point of contact.    

Accurate Tax Preparation

When you run a business, and it’s global or spread out over multiple states, tax preparation can be an absolute nightmare.  Setting up state taxes is complicated and getting it right the first time without having to pay an accountant a mini fortune is just as rare. 

That’s until now. Many payroll providers offer tax services, taking the guesswork out of it all. But you must do your homework because some providers say they have you covered, but don’t do all the filing, the paperwork, or help you if mistakes are made when calculating your taxes. Some have even filed late causing penalties and liens placed on businesses. 

Tax penalties can take your life’s work and crumble it like stale bread in between your finger tips. You pay these providers to handle this so you don’t have too.

If you want this service it’s important you understand the process inside and out, so you are not stuck paying for lawyer fees to get your business off the naughty list with the IRS.

That is why you want to know exactly what guidelines are set in place for your business and your payroll provider when they are filing your taxes.  

Here are a few questions to consider and ask yourself when finding a provider that is trustworthy to handle your yearly tax preparation on autopilot:

  • What confirmation do you get to show they are preparing the financials for you? 
  • When will your taxes be filed? 
  • Is there a foolproof process in place if you are threatened or incur fees from the IRS?  
  • How is the process performed, monthly, quarterly, yearly? 
  • Will you be responsible for filing the financials and forms, or do they do it all?
  • Is there a guarantee? 

These are important questions and several providers on this list make tax prep a snap, and even offer guarantees, for self and full-preparation of your taxes. 

But if you choose to go outside of this methodology, we recommend you ask yourself these questions. They will provide you a solid guide if you decide to use the tax preparation service an online payroll provider offers. 

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Best for Most

Rippling has over 500 integrations and automations to make payroll and HR management simple. You can run payroll in 90 seconds, backed by a 100% error-free guarantee.

Expanding Your Knowledge: Best Online Payroll Services


Rippling and Paycor are our top recommendations for most users because they’re easy to use, affordable, and packed full of powerful features.

However, there are other high-quality options to choose from.

So, don’t forget to use the methodology outlined above as you go through the process of choosing the best online payroll service for your business.

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